Turkish Military Hit From Air as It Pours in Reinforcements to Obstruct Syrian-Russian Offensive
Syrian army has enveloped Khan Shaykhoun and cut a key highway above it
Syrian army continues to make good progress in its Idlib offensive. It has envoloped the town of Khan Shaykhoun — on of the five largest still under rebel control — from the north, cut the M5 highway above it, and captured the first buildings on its western edges.
This complicates the situation of the southernmost Turkish army outpost in Syria, on the rebel-government front line, as it may find itself cut off and in a cauldron together with the jihadis. However, rather than retreat Turkey has instead spent the day pouring in reinforcements in at least three seperate convoys.
On at least two occassions the Syrian air force struck at the invading Turks. Turkey protested the air strikes and claims they killed “3 civilians” but Syrian outlets says the convoy was a mixed Turkish-rebel column. This seems likely as the non-HTS (al-Qaeda) rebels in Idlib are directly backed by Turkey, and Turkish convoys to Syria outposts are regularly coordinated with the rebel checkpoints or travel with rebel escorts.
Hurriyet Daily News (Pro-Turkish):
Turkey “strongly” condemned an air strike on its military convoy heading through Syria’s Idlib province on Aug. 19. Defense officials said that the attack was undertaken by the “regime forces” and was a violation of agreements with Russia.
“Despite repeated warnings we made to the authorities of the Russian Federation, the military operations by the regime forces continue in Idlib region in violation of the existing memorandums and agreements with the Russian Federation,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that Russia had been told in advance about the convoy.
The ministry said “regime forces” were behind the attack, which it said had killed three civilians and wounded 12.
The Turkish convoy was attacked en route to one of its observation posts at 8.55 a.m., according to the ministry statement. Turkey has 12 observation posts in and on the edge of Idlib as part of an agreement reached with Russia.
The attack killed three civilians and wounded 12 others, according to the Defense Ministry.
“In the face of these ongoing operations in violation of all memorandums and agreements threatening the supply route to the Turkish Observation Point No. 9, a deployment of our forces was started on August 19, 2019 at 5.30 a.m. with advance information supplied to the Russian Federation, in order to keep the supply routes open, to ensure the safety of our observation post and to prevent further loss of civilian / innocent lives in the region,” it said.
“We strongly condemn this attack which contradicts the existing agreements, cooperation and dialogue with the Russian Federation. Without prejudice to our rights to self-defense, we expect the necessary measures to be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents,” the ministry added.
The Syrian Air Force has carried out strikes against a Turkish convoy comprising both Turkish Army units and Turkish-backed militant groups in the southern countryside of Idlib province.
Muraselon News has learned that a Turkish Army convoy, accompanied by Ankara-backed insurgents, attempting to reach the city of Khan Sheykhun was engaged by the Syrian Air Force as it passed south from Marat al-Numan on the M5 Highway in south Idlib
Sources report that an unspecified number of militants from the Free Syrian Army’s Rahman Legion were caught in the strikes by Syrian warplanes and killed. It is unknown if Turkish service personnel were harmed.
The Turkish convoy is attempting to reach Khan Sheykhun in order to deter a Syrian Army offensive currently taking place for possession of the city. It is reported that Turkey plans to establish additional observation posts in and near the city, but this is not confirmed.
At the present time, the Syrian Air Force continues to conduct strikes against militant positions and movements along the M5 Highway between Murat al-Numan and Khan Sheykhun.
Turkish regime convoy comes to a halt after air strikes target its pathway towards Morek
— The'Nimr'Tiger (@Souria4Syrians) August 19, 2019
— Suhail AlGhazi (@putintintin1) August 19, 2019